This tip probably only applies to coaches of teams that train full time but maybe has applications for everyone.
The season is long. During the season the team, the players, the coaches, spend a lot of time together, mostly under stressful conditions. Practice is stressful when you are pushing physically and mentally to improve. Competition is stressful when everything is at stake. Travel is stressful, getting in and out of cramped buses and planes and constantly sleeping in different beds. Life is stressful trying to fit the commitments of being in a team with normal everyday relationships with friends and family.
Under those conditions it is only normal and to be expected that there will be moments of tension and moments when players are, shall we say, less motivated to interact with their teammates than normal. Noise cancelling headphones, and tablets of all shapes and sizes give players ample opportunity to cut themselves off from the team and the old fashioned way of simply not talking to anyone still works fine.
To force players to be in a ‘good mood’ all the time is unrealistic and probably not particularly healthy for anybody. For this reason, I have what I call the ‘Three Day Rule’. Players can have their short periods where they mope and sook. And those short periods can last exactly two days. On the third day, they have to return to the team. A lot of players, especially more experienced ones, instinctively know this and you will be surprised how many of them will intuitively know when they have to ‘return’ to the team. The others mostly just need a gentle reminder of the ‘Three Day Rule’.
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